The Good People of AHA! went to Maker Faire Detroit. There were many misadventures along the way, but we got there, and I got to show people the cyborg juggling machine, Skate-Tar, goggles, Angry Amp, and (sorta) LED rope dart. Then, Mitch Altman and Jimmie Rodgers came to visit us, along with Matt Mets, MAKE's resident blogger and all-around excellent fellow. (Mitch and Jimmie were also awesome!) The night before their soldering workshop, we got together for beers at Grizzly Peak, a jam session including the unholy marriage of Skate-Tar and Jimmie's Atari Punk Console, and a photo battle.
Since then, some of us have been working on Roxanne, our beautiful all-in-one makerspace monitor/memory; I'm going to build her ears and pharynx. And she will come with us to the NYC Global Maker Faire in September. But my main project for now is the ATARITAR!
Atari Punk Console (APC), speaker replaced with 1/8" plug
Jimmie brought these into the space for the workshop; it's an audio tone generator, controlled by two potentiometers. I wanted one, but didn't want to buy a full kit, so I was going to order just the PCB... and then I discovered an unfinished one, consigned to a lonely drawer long ago. Goodtiems!
The APC is going to be mounted onto a stripped-down electric guitar body; the strings, tuning hardware, and pickups were removed some time ago. Here, you can see the back of the pickguard, which has a 1/4" mono jack, 2 pots (Volume and Tone), and two switches (for the absent pickups). I've replaced the wiring to one of the switches with a 1/8" jack, so that I can plug the APC in where a pickup would go, and at this point a 1/4" jack can run from the pickguard to my Angry Amp (not pictured). This allows me to run the APC through the guitar hardware to the amp. I hooked up a 1/4" jack to the other switch; in the picture above, the APC and Skate-Tar are both plugged into the guitar 'ware, running through to the amp. Interesting noises!
Next, I needed to cut down the pickguard to accommodate the addition of buttons and switches (being too lazy to drill holes). This was accomplished with wire cutters, tin snips, and a rasp. (A Dremel would've been much faster, but I was too lazy to get it out.)
And some other things, including a button from kwartzlab (Ontario-place) and patch from the MakerCity Faire.
Finished pickguard! The silver Sharpie is just a fancy way to demarcate the "on" positions for the switches.
The next step was to make the APC a permanent attachment to the 'tar. I removed the 1/8" plug and extended wires between the pots and PCB. However, these weakened connections caused the sound to turn into horrible, high, dolphin-like noises. As I'm going for a more bass effect, this was not the proper direction for things to be going.
With much trepidation, I got the pots back onto the PCB, and it sounded good again.
At this point, I took a break from soldering to enhance the aesthetic qualities of the instrument. I took the stickers off (having multiples), and used this paint that I found in my room while searching for a plastic bag... serendipity! (Paint originally from the excellent David Lamb.)
Applied the paint in the women's bathroom at Digital Ops (the whale to AHA's remora, also the oldest multiplayer gaming facility in North America). This tends to be the place where we contain noxious fumes, loud noises, flying sparks, and so on...
The paint is beautiful and glossy, just as promised. I put on threeish coats and a touch-up layer.
And my AHA! name :)
Thus concludes Part I of the Ataritar Saga! Since these pictures were taken, I've managed to integrate the APC fully into the guitar body and added magnets and such. The next installment will contain an update on whatever variable resistor I manage to scrounge together.